Spurs notebook: Ginobili feels for newcomers

Manu Ginobili can rest assured that, for the 11th season in a row, he’s going to make the Spurs’ roster.

Still, the two-time All-Star can’t help but sympathize with the handful of hopefuls who will not.

“You know a few of them are going to be cut, because we can’t have more than 15. It’s probably the worst part of the year, to see guys going through that. We just try to help everybody, and then it’s Pop’s decision,” Ginobili said of coach Gregg Popovich.

With a regular roster set at 14, the Spurs have room for only one more addition. The candidates for the job — center Eddy Curry, forwards Derrick Brown and Josh Powell and wing Wesley Witherspoon — all have had their moments during the preseason.

Witherspoon, an undrafted rookie from Memphis, led the Spurs with 17 points in Sunday’s win at Houston. Curry chipped in 10 points, making all five of his field goals.

“You see how hard they are working,” Ginobili said. “They’re doing their best to win that spot. They’re good guys doing a good job, so it’s going to be hard.”

Competition helps all: Regardless of how the competition for the final roster spot plays out, each of the Spurs’ big men figures to be much improved by the time the regular season begins because of the intense competition taking place.

DeJuan Blair, the three-year veteran who is in the final year of his contract, likes the various skills the newcomers bring to the practice battles.

“They’re doing excellent, developing every day,” Blair said. “Eddy is a big body, and Josh is more of a skill four-five, a great addition to the camp. I enjoy him there and also enjoy Ed being there.

“We all enjoy each other, and we all get along with each other. We want to help each other get better. It’s great having that daily competition. Ed is huge, and Josh is more of a guardable big you have to guard with your feet.

“It’s really good for Tim (Duncan) and me and the others to work out with them and bond with them a little bit.”

Relax, it’s an off day: With five days between preseason games and with Duncan having missed Monday’s practice with an illness, Popovich opted for a day of rest Tuesday.


Twitter: @JMcDonald_SAEN

Staff writer Mike Monroe contributed to this report.

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